Category: Legal Billing Tips

31 Oct

8 Legal Billing Tips for Real Estate Attorneys

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Why is Billing For Real Estate Lawyers Different?

Real estate lawyers face some of the same challenges that other lawyers face when billing and collecting outstanding balances from customers. However there are unique challenges that lawyers in real estate face that are unique to them when it comes to billing. Addressing these issues proactively will help to improve the challenges that real estate attorneys face in accounting for their practice. Here are eight billing tips for real estate attorneys.

1) Using A Quality Legal Billing Software Program

While many real estate firms don’t bill by the hour and instead charge by transaction, having a legal billing system in place can help to document the steps and charges and help to show clients the work and effort placed into the case. Doing so will help to improve on your billing process and improve on collections.

2) Integrating Your Law Firm Billing Software with Your Finance Software

Law firms will need to bill their clients to get paid and real estate attorneys can quickly and more efficiently bill their clients when they integrate their legal billing software directly with their finance ERP system. Since real estate attorneys have a lot of small cases that they handle an integration from billing with the legal billing software can cut down on mistakes and errors and improve on the collection time for real estate attorneys.

3) Using a Quality Case Management System to Monitor Different Clients

Unlike other forms of law which handle larger clients, real estate attorneys often deal with smaller transactions, particularly for those who handle smaller residential homes. A quality case management system like that sold by the South Dakota Odyssey Case Management program provides numerous benefits including allowing you to:

– segregate receipts of funds on behalf of clients that you need to segregate from the standard legal funds that you receive for services
– allows for a more organized and streamlined manner of organizing your finances relating to the various cases that you handle
– provides a document storage solution for real estate transactions that allow you to easily retrieve data and documents
– provides for a complete billing solution that saves details of your financial documents at all times

4) Use Standard Engagement Letters that Are Complete and Enforceable

Engagement letters between real estate lawyers and clients really protect both parties from potential billing pfoblems that will be encountered and allow for a quick remedy to issues that you are encountered. Engagement letters best serve a purpose when the legal service is contested, particularly in larger real estate transactions or when the deal ultimately falls through and the parties try to avoid their legal bills in what was a fruitless exercise. An signed engagement letter helps to protect the law firm from these situations and protects them from the marked arguments that can arise. It can also help to avoid claims of perjury by your clients and claims that you didn’t properly represent their interests.

5) Use Checkists to Avoid Errors and Missing Billing

Have an organized system to surround your billing and to make sure that customers are billed in a timely manner. Checklists and documented policies and procedures manuals will help to make sure that staff members who are in charge of billing from the law firm billing software program know what steps they need to take at each point and avoid items falling through the cracks.

6) Documenting Expenses and Filing Fees

Real estate firms sometimes need to pay expenses on behalf of clients in order to speed transactions along. Paying reimbursable filing fees and other expenses may be part of the process of being a real estate attorney but firms need to make sure that they recover these costs in addition to the printing fees and other client related costs. Make sure that you Law Firm has a process built in to capture these costs and have them reimbursed by your clients.

7) Hire A Bookkeeper or External Party to Handle Billing

By hiring a bookkeeper or employee designated with billing your real estate attorneys on staff can avoid the call of administrative work and focus on the process of handling customers and not billig. It also avoids the potential inaccuracy in their billing.

8) Having a Client Sign that the Services Were Successfully Completed

Billing disputes can sometimes be avoided when a real estate law firm has a transaction signed off by a client as having been completed. This step, while not always binding in court, can help to avoid billing disputes at the end of a case.

30 Oct

5 Tips to Bill and Log Legal Phone Calls

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What To Learn After Law School

Billing is a nuisance to all lawyers in the industry. Unfortunately, law school does not offer the experience that is billing. There are many wrong ways in which you could capture bills, for example, a lawyer who thought he could bill a client 29 hours in one way. You can consider using the a legal billing software to do your billing. The following are some top five tips on ensuring effective billing.

1. Get Money Up Front

It is recommendable to get money in advance because the clients are happier making decisions beforehand rather than hitting the client with the bill after receiving the services. You can :

• Discuss a payment plant with the client where they pay in phases
• Discuss whether the client can pay beforehand or after.

While billing you should also make sure that you find the perfect balance of invoice detail. It is the attorney’s job to explain the charges and not the client’s job to figure out the details. If the client is still unhappy with the charges you can decide if you want the client of if you desperately need the money and if you do, you should never cut the fee but instead quote it for the person because discounts tend to have more clients who default their payments. Moreover, install a top legal billing software or get legal services corporation.

2. Pay Attention to Detail

For starters, you should give the client detailed items and this is something that clients are sure to appreciate and have fewer questions about the invoices. This means that you should break down your time and billing by some characteristics like;
• File
• Client
• Practice area
• Matter AreaA description which is also brief will make it hard to evaluate the aptness of a particular duty executed and still the time used to perform that particular task.

3.) Do Not Bill In Blocks

Block billing defines the practice of recording a collection of responsibilities in a block summary in one single time entry. One should break down the number of tasks you have so that you do not have too many large blocks of time at one particular time. You should bill early, often and strategically. Instead of billing hours more than two hours on responding to discovery you could break this down into;• Reviewing demands
• Reviewing files
• Telephone conferences
• Summarizing depositions
• Calling client on matters of missing documents

Also make billing a habit. You should not the time you start, the time you finish and enter the exact times make sure to be accurate. When billing your time, you should make sure that as you begin, you must have to have an end-goal in mind and effective time keeping will lead to billing accuracy that in turn leads to satisfaction and loyalty.

When you do block billings, this can be seen like a way to hide incompetence and numerous courts don’t allow block billings since it impedes actual reimbursement of lawyer fees subsequent a judgement that has been made.

You should also familiarise yourself with client billing rules,Mac Productivity and techniques and these guidelines are usually inside the customer’s retaining or letter of engagement. The payment procedures may contain employment limitations, budgetary procedures, disbursement guidelines and also detailed timekeeping rules. Ask if there is a legal billing software that will fit the clients needs.

A particular client also an assigned code that is unique to the client and the purpose of familiarizing yourself with customer billing procedures is education and properly applying the myriad of specialized task grounded payment codes matchless to each other. Confirm if there is an available law firm billing software that will suit the clients needs.

4.) Use of Simple Language

You should always remember you audience when you are recording time entries. Your clients are not lawyers so most of the time they may not be able to understand the jargon of lawyers. Your clients could be;

• Elderly people
• Unskilled labourers
• People with only a high school diploma

This means you should avoid complicated legal terms, abbreviations or slang when you are describing activities that are billable and instead use simple terms so as to not frustrate you client. Look for the available law firm billing software to ease the billing work.

You should also remember that not only one person but by various individuals at different levels and even third part auditors, a paralegal and legal professionals.

5.) Ask For Referrals

Many clients that have accounts that are not in the well to do category simply do not have the money that you require from them. Sometimes letting a bill go unpaid may be good for business sometimes. Most clients that experience financial hardship cites this as the main reason for not paying their legal fees however some lawyers let unpaid bills go in exchange bills go for referral business, but one should be careful when doing this so that they do not operate on complete losses.

27 Oct

How a Legal Billing Software Will Help You Prevent Under-billing

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Accounting Made Simple With LEGAL BILLING SOFTWARE

If your law firm is not currently utilizing a LAW FIRM BILLING SOFTWARE, you might as well be breaking the law. It’s almost like committing perjury since you’d be lying to yourself about how necessary this software is.

  • One-Stop Solution – With software, you can accomplish a number of different tasks that allow for multiple solutions. Killing two birds with one stone becomes, killing many birds with one stone.
  • Save Time – Time is always a precious commodity. When you waste it, you lose out on money and opportunity. Using a billing software will ensure that you will never miss out again.
  • Provide Clarity – Clients want to know with certainty what it is they are being billed for. When you present them with a clear, accurate, and professional bill, your clients will feel much more confident in who they hired.

LAW FIRM BILLING SOFTWARE can be an easy solution for a number of issues that impede efficiency. Since a number of variables can be addressed with this type of software, this makes it a one-stop solution. Saving time is certainly one of the primary reasons that law firms seek out LEGAL BILLING SOFTWARE. Make sure all your hours are accounted for and by doing this, you will have a much better idea as to how everyone is spending their time. Everyone knows that time equals money and precious time needs to be used in ways that benefit the law firm as well as the client. Keeping close track of your hours also ensures you will no longer be under-billing.

Using Templates Help Provide Clarity

Clients will be able to clearly understand what services are being given to them and how effectively you are spending your time helping along with their case. This also helps underbilling. Get paid for the work you complete. Clear, precise information that only a billing software can provide is the best way to increase confidence in current clients and even attract new clients. Having a professional reputation is one of the most important key aspects of becoming a successful law firm. With billing software, you will be able to achieve this confidence and earn a reputation that is respectable and responsible.

Integrity Increases With Longshore Case Management System

Whether you are a small, medium, or large law firm, possessing a great amount of integrity is not only important, it’s invaluable. Integrity means you are performing your job in an honorable way. This means your bookkeeping must be considered top-notch. You need to have concise records that spell out how your money is being managed. Using a software can also help you save money. You may discover that some funds are being foolishly spent or the records may prompt you to seek out more cost-effective solutions, helping you trim off expenses.
LEGAL BILLING SOFTWARE is a Must Have
Whenever you can save time, you should take advantage of that. A legal software should be simple to use. It should manage your files, your billing, and your numbers. By paying particular attention to your billing, you can ensure that you are billing accurately and this helps facilitate a quick turnaround time. You will also avoid any under-billing. This means actually being paid for all of the work you have completed. This will, in turn, allow your clients to receive their bill sooner, which of course means quicker payments for you. This type of accuracy is a benefit for all parties involved.

You must ask yourself what would be easier and more practical? Are you interested in better managing your time, taking control of your law firm, and taking control over your life? There are truly only upsides when it comes to investing in billing software for
your law firm.

24 Oct

5 Legal Billing Tips for Health Law Attorneys

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Health Law Attorneys: Legal Billing Tips

For health law attorneys, like attorneys in other industries, billing is vitally important. Without proper billing, both the attorneys and their clients in the health field, will feel shortchanged and frustrated. Using law firm billing software can help, but there are other techniques health law attorneys can use to make sure their billing is handled correctly in addition to legal billing software. These techniques can ensure the billing process is handled properly and it is fair and accurate. The following are a few billing tips health law attorneys may find helpful.

Tips For Better Billing Accuracy

In addition to law firm billing software, using the following methods can lead to a more accurate accounting of the time health law attorneys spend working on their clients’ cases.

1. Provide Detailed Descriptions Of Tasks
2. Avoid Block Billing
3. Enter Time At Regular Intervals
4. Communicate With The Client Regularly
5. Follow Ethical Guidelines

Taking these steps is important because billing problem can derail a promising career. Many attorneys lament that billing practices are not covered in enough depth in law school. Many lawyers are force to learn the intricacies of billing after graduation when they are out in the real world working in their law practice. At that point, they begin to understand the challenges involved in accurately capturing and documenting billable hours then explaining and justifying to their clients why those hours of legal work were necessary to handle the case.

1. Provide Detailed Descriptions

While law firm billing software may show how many hours an attorney worked on a case, providing the client with detailed descriptions of the tasks completed during that time helps them understand what services the bill actually covers. Most clients would happily pay for billable hours that helped to produce results they can see. This is more effective than Mac productivity software for helping clients understand exactly what was done and how long it took.

2. Avoid Block Billing

Whether a health law attorney works for the New York City Law Department or a private firm, they should stay away from block billing. To many clients block billing is used to mask inefficient use of time. Rather than billing for large blocks of time for vague tasks, break the time down into smaller increments and state exactly what was done during that period. This will eliminate questions the clients may have about the invoices and make them more apt to pay it quickly.

3. Enter Time At Regular Intervals 

The best way to ensure your billing is accurate is to log the time spent on specific tasks into the law firm billing software at regular intervals. When you do this and bill frequently it makes it easier for the client to monitor what you’re doing and you won’t lose track of your billable time. If you don’t always have easy access to your legal billing software, make a written note of the time required to complete each task and transfer it to the law firm billing software as soon as possible.

4. Communicate With The Client Regularly

When clients feel they are being kept in the dark, it can lead them to question their legal bills. If you communicate with your client on a regular basis and use simple language, it eliminates confusion about the bills, allows clients to be able to follow the legal activities that are taking place and keeps the client happy. This will make them willing to pay the legal bills without questions because it will be clear to them exactly what tasks the bills cover.

5. Follow Ethical Guidelines

Following ethical guidelines with billing practices will make the bill paying process go a lot smoother. The attorney should be open and honest with the client from the very beginning. Establish a reasonable fee, clarify the fee agreement and put it in writing before beginning to work on the case. Discuss any additional fees, added expenses or rate increases with the client before doing the work and billing them for it. Let the client know beforehand if there will be interest charged on delinquent accounts. Earn your retainer fee. Don’t expect to be paid for work you have not completed.

Being clear with your client from the very beginning and throughout, keeping communication lines open and complying with ethical guidelines in regards to work completed and your billing practices are effective billing tips. They can endear you to your clients and help you to find success as a health law attorney.

23 Oct

How a Legal Billing Software Will Help You Turn Expenses into Invoices

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Using a Legal Billing Software for Cash Flow

The typical law firm will operate with a relatively simple formula. They will hire young lawyers who are mentored and monitored by partners in the firm and other experienced staff members, will pay their salaries and attract clients for their business. Salaries to lawyers are often projected to represent about a third of revenues, with another third for overhead and the remaining third for profits. Law firms major costs therefore are mainly the salaries that they pay and the overhead costs that they cover. Finding ways to improve on this formula can greatly improve on revenues.

Using a Legal Billing Software to Increase Billings 

A law firm billing software program operates by lawyers capturing their billable hours and attributing them to the various clients that they work on. Each line item that they input, which can be as small and minute as ten minutes, will have information that lets the client know what they were working on to avoid any potential refutation of charges. Many clients will have some real sticker shock when they get an legal invoice because, lets face it, legal expenses are not small. A law firm billing software program can help to avoid these issues and allow your firm to charge clients appropriately for the services incurred and turn the largest expense item in your firm, the cost of hiring, paying, and retaining employees into revenues.

Law firms can also find employees who aren’t contributing to the firm through billable hour printouts and finding ways to focus on improving their performance or replacing them with more productive alternatives in the firm. In the long run, replacing unproductive lawyers can help a firm to turn their payroll expenses to revenue and invoices.

Keeping Track of Expenses Incurred on Behalf of Clients

Lawyers will often pay or incur costs on behalf of their clients which they can then pass through with reimbursable expense charges. Keeping track of these expense reimbursables can be a real challenge for a law firm and sometimes may not be worth the effort without a well designed system such as those that are available through law firm billing programs or expense reimbursement programs that allow a firm to automate the invoicing of these expense items.

Some typical client related expenses that you can probably recover through charges may include:

– travel costs relating to the clients case
– costs associated with obtaining and retaining specialists to represent the client and testify on their behalf
– meals and entertainment costs incurred on behalf of clients
– filing and court fees incurred
– printing and report fees created on behalf of the client

A Legal Billing software program can help you to properly accumulate these charges so that you can bill them back to your customers appropriately and not lose track of them. While being able to pass on these costs is part of any standard contract with a lawyer, many firms will simply lose track of them and miss charging them. Studies by the Washburn University and the Florida State University Law Practice discussed how improved efficiency of charges can greatly improve on the total charges that you can often pass on to your clients in this way.

Integrating a Legal Billing Software With Your Finance Software

It is also a good idea to try to integrate your legal billing software with whatever accounting ERP that you use as your law firm can then quickly and efficiently send out invoices and not spend money on expenses for clerical accounting work that is really no more than data entry. Automated accounting systems that integrate with your billing software are more than just efficient ways to lower your cost structure with the creation of invoices, but also a way to avoid clerical mistakes that may end up resulting in you having to revise invoices and potentially miss out on being able to charge for these amounts.

Billing software programs that are designed specifically for law firms can therefore provide some real valuable services for firms that are looking to improve on their efficiency and to turn what are and could be expenses, into invoices and revenue. Look for an billing software that allows your employees to efficiently and effectively capture their time and which integrates with software that allows you to charge your clients seamlessly. Even though the legal industry isn’t a technology driven field, there is no reason why technology cannot make your law firm more efficient and effective in the business world and help you to grow your profits.

18 Oct

Easy Ways to Track Non-billing Expenses

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Easy Ways to Track Non-billing Expenses

Law Firm Billing Software provides easy ways to track non-billing expenses. The legal system has many areas, Immigration, Bankruptcy, personal injury, labor law, Criminal law, family and health law and the list goes on. Each time an attorney sits down with a client, researches a case or handles a court appearance; this cost the attorney time and everyone wants to be paid for his or her time.

Benefits:

• Clarity
• Accuracy
• Timely billing
• Less paperwork
• In house accounting

Legal Costs:

It is important to avoid the chance of ruffling a client’s feathers with charges he or she feels are unfair. The best way to manage any questionable charge is to maintain accurate records. Date pages accurately, and place why, when and what for in plain billing language. When a client uses legal services, costs add up. Telephone services are needed; documents require copying, even lunch may become a part of the expenditure. It is important to lists these charges before they are overlooked or forgotten entirely.

Poor Bookkeeping Loses Money:
Failure to charge for services dilutes the efforts of the firm. Investigative services are not unusual in legal cases, servers are necessary, and travel expenses add up, reaching beyond the cost of actually sitting down with the client. These costs take away from profits unless charged to the client. The listing of cost for an attorney falls under a different arrangement. The spending of money by an attorney for a client is a loan. However, this money rates as positive income, although it seems to be flowing away from the company’s bank account. The expectation is the monies will be repaid, therefore, considered an asset.

While struggling with retainer fees, referral, flat rate or consultation fees, getting everything down in the correct order is a little distracting when winning a case for a client is the goal. Nevertheless, without money in the bank, the attorney cannot handle any case effectively when he or she is worried about the rent. Law Firm Billing Software improves the chance of better earnings.

Separating Charges:

The New York City law Department uses Legal billing software as an easy way to track non-billing expenses while maintaining a clear record of billable expenses. Washburn University trains students to use legal firm billing software to manage a variety of billing and non-billing requirements.

Updates:

Legal Billing software updates billing tracking each added expense. Phone calls, copy cost, and legal research fees are a legitimate cost but out of the average consideration for normal billing. List Attorney Fees with Simplicity. A Software improves the efficiency of financial data. Stopping to log information is easier, while the workflow is uninterrupted. Law firms capture more of their funds and lose less time from billable legal services when using Law Firm Billing Software.

Security:

Legal software is a secure way to manage non-billing while creating a quick way to track time and money. Each lawyer has access if the firm chooses to give it and can log time and any loans given during the course of the day. Legal organizations might have problems if funds flowing into the company are missed through poor billing practices. Billing is done when the expense is created with the detailed information listed, making tracking cost easier on everyone. Improper billing can affect the amount of taxes paid causing loss of income or legal difficulties.

Hiring an Accountant:

If a financial service is hired later, this also distracts from the bottom line. If an attorney is operating a one-person firm, tracking non-billing costs is crucial and more demanding without legal software. The ability of the firm to grow might hinge on tracking cost and time. A new firm can ill afford waste.

Tracking cost eliminates wasted effort while preventing clients from taking advantage of the attorney’s time. Solicitors can concentrate on doing the best job possible for clients and they are able to show clients any charges related to their case if obligated to do so. The objective of every business is to earn money. Tracking non-billing cost is one way to help that process along.

13 Oct

What You Should Be Billing For as a Lawyer

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What To Bill And Log For Your Client Billing

Logging legal meetings may not be such a big task if your law firm has a few clients but if your clients are in their hundreds, then it will be a big task to log clients’ meetings accurately. Your best bet is to adopt the use of legal billing software from a legal services corporation. The software does not only handle logging of client meetings, it also handles billing perfectly.

Billing your clients

Proper billing is important in running any law firm. A detailed and easy to understand will help with cash flow as clients will pay faster if they understand their bills. This may even mean that you can avoid having to take out loans to cover working capital needs of your firm.
Every client knows he or she has to pay for legal services. Most times when clients complain about legal billing, it is not because it is too high but the manner in which it was presented to them. So, you need to be careful when billing your clients. It may put them off. One funny thing about clients is that they won’t tell you when they have made up their mind to get another lawyer. You will simply not see them again.

What to avoid when billing your clients

Try not to issue bills in bits. Let clients know their bill from the beginning. Put all likely contingencies into consideration so that you won’t be forced to ask for more money halfway. A lot of clients see this idea as a rip off. They see it as an additional hidden fee. This is why it is important to adopt the use of legal billing software to help you break down your charges in smaller components that are easy for your clients to understand.

Important tips on how to bill clients

Some important tips on how to handle legal billing have been listed below

• Deploy legal billing software

• Don’t charge for every little task

• Avoid irksome and vague terms

• For accuracy, record time spent on a daily basis and detail out time spent by your attorney and paralegal

• Make your communication very clear

Deploy legal billing software

Apart from the accuracy of law firm billing software, another reason to adopt this technique is because it boosts your credibility. Clients trust figures generated directly from law firm billing software much more than the one you calculated by yourself. Use of billing software is highly encouraged by Florida State University Law Practice.

Generally, there is a paradigm shift towards general digitization of several business activities. Legal business should not lag behind. Digitization comes with speed, accuracy and convenience. So, in a matter of years there will only be two categories of law firms – those that have adopted the use of software and those that are running out of business.

Don’t charge for every little task

One of the advices of School of Law Online Resources is that attorneys do not have to charge for a simple task of correcting the error in a document or updating a document. This is because a lot of clients do not feel they should be charged for that. They are right in their thought. As an attorney, you may not deliver on your main responsibility without updating or correcting certain documents.

You should think of reference and more business from the same client. So, if you make a client pay for every little task, you may succeed but any client who isn’t happy to pay for some “inconsequential” tasks will never come back for another business or refer anybody to you.

Avoid irksome and vague terms

When breaking down your bill to clients it is very important that you use very simple terms that the client can understand easily. Your clients will be happy to pay for what they understand. When you use too much legal jargons in terms of billing, it is seen as a deliberate effort to bamboozle clients.

According to the policy of some big corporate clients, they do not pay for certain legal services. So it is better to use another term. A very good example is the term “rework”. It is against the policy of many companies to pay for reworking of any old document. So, you need to avoid such words in your bill. Even if you spend so much time reworking a certain document, you should use another term in your bill.

Record time spent with a client on a daily basis

It is better to log the time spent with a client on a daily basis. It makes billing much easier that way. If you wait until the end of the legal service to log all the meetings, you will likely make several mistakes. So, for accuracy, log client’s meetings on a daily basis when it is still fresh in your memory.

Make your communication clear

If you think there is anything on the bill that the client might question, it is better to call him or her to explain it before sending an invoice. For instance, including the service rendered by an attorney that didn’t get to meet with the client in your bill will cause issues without prior explanation. It is better to call ahead and explain exactly what the “strange” attorney did to deserve being paid. This explanation should be very clear.

7 Oct

4 Legal Billing Tips for Family Lawyers

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Billing: It’s all About Staying in the Green Zone

Any law firm can tell you that when the time comes to settle payments, that is when friction happens with clients. This could be for a number of reasons, but the most common one is that the client was expecting a lower payment for services rendered by the firm. The following are:

four legal billing tips to help family lawyers to stay in the green zone.

1. If there is something that the law firm was not going to charge for, then show it on the bill. It could be put under as “no charge”. Everyone likes to see that they got something for free. A no charge example could be something like organizing the case file. Another thing to keep in mind is to not drop any surprises on the client. Always keep the client posted and give them a fair advanced warning on future expenses. Also, it is always better to send out bills as soon as possible. If it is sent several months afterward, then it could end being a minor shock for the client. Some law firms like to give the client a call before the bill is sent out. This gives the whole transaction a personal touch, which always goes down better with clients.
2. The fact of the matter is that a lot of law firms lose money because of poor collection and billing practices. Depending on the situation this lost amount can be substantial. One prominent reason for this is because of out dated law firm billing software or not using a legal billing software. Both are equally bad. If the firm cannot keep up with this sort of IT related tasks, then it may be well worth hiring someone who can handle legal billing software. Sometimes even a paralegal can be trained to be a virtual assistant.
3. As far as legal billing software is concerned there are two basic options when it comes to the IT side of things. The first is to have an in-house server where the legal billing software will be kept so that everyone can access it. The second option is to use cloud service. Both have their pros and cons. However, from a security standpoint cloud based service is a better option. The great thing about cloud based service is that all you need to do is pay a monthly fee and the cloud company will take care of the rest. All you need to do is never forget the password and you are good to go.
Of course, all of this will require some research to find the best legal billing software that fits your business needs. There is software built specifically to be legal-centric. Apart from billing and time keeping they will also include options such as ABA and trust accounting billing codes. Having all of the extra billing related bells and whistles can not only make life a lot easier for the finance department, but it will also be a lot more accurate. In fact, some types of law firm billing software will give the client the option to pay bills on line. The simple truth is that when online billing and payment options are available, payments happen as much as 40% faster! This is because of the overall change in peoples purchasing habits. We as a society have come to expect to go online and get what we want, and be done with it and move on with our lives. Therefore, it is not surprising that this trend has seeped into the legal world.
4. All of this is to accomplish one basic thing and that is to make billing go smoothly between the firm and the clients. No law firm wants to get into the red zone with customers on billing issues. This could start off with something small and grow big in no time. It is how malpractice actions can go from being just a concept to reality.

Why do we Need LSC?

LSC stands for Legal services corporation and it was set up by the US Congress to ensure everyone has the chance to get legal help. It is a fund to help those who need civil legal assistance, who otherwise may not be able to afford it. It was conceived in 1974 with bipartisan congressional support. LSC is run by a board of 11 directors who are appointed by the President of the US. Over the years it went through several budget cuts, but the LSC has managed to soldier on. As of 2015, the LSC had a budget of $375 million.
6 Oct

Tips to Track Your Legal Billing Hours

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Tips to Track Your Legal Billing Hours

 

Some could consider using billing management tools to accurately record and organize billing hours, especially busy professionals like lawyers or accountants, whose salaries are based upon per project or per client hourly rates.

 

The use of digital technology

 

You could track these without complicated software, right? A more effective and error-free way to calculate and track legal billing hours should include the use of a legal billing app. Many of which are free, or offer free trial versions. It turns out that they aren’t all that complicated either.

 

The ability to handle office billing processes

 

Few tasks are more crucial to the proper functioning of a law firm, then recording time. Tracking and entering values can be a tedious process to many, aggravating to most. For legal billing, bill-per-hour is the common way for a lawyer to charge.

 

Employ the services of timekeeping apps

 

Certain apps, like iTimeKeep, is commonly used by lawyers. There are two different options for use, free time for recording or integration with current law firm billing software or management software. The app allows for lawyer-friendly options like the ability to record time whilst on the go, or return to the office and enter data manually. Whether recording time, completing tasks or voice-activating a stopwatch, this can be an entertaining app to use while balancing the budget.

 

Apps offer the most efficient way to track legal hours

 

The organization system used by Time Master + Billing allows users to perform a variety of timekeeping functions, another extremely popular app frequented by lawyers. This is a time tracker deluxe. Engineered with the capacity to run and maintain multiple timers, the possibility of making accidental duplicate entries is reduced. This is a phenomenal example of law firm billing software, all wrapped up in an app. Time Master + Billing has the ability to sort and categorize clients efficiently, neatly compiled and presented by task and project. Complete with wonderful search engine precision providing sub categories as well. Juggling the ability to sort clients by unique parameters, the user also has the power to apply multiple billing rates, especially useful if you need to bill the same client more than one rate. This app enables you to do just that.

 

A different type of legal billing app

 

When tracking legal billing hours efficiently or filing paperwork for your latest perjury case, the services of an app like Bill4Time could help you sort your material, allowing you to search for desired information rapidly. Bill4Time is a total legal billing software and invoicing system – a comprehensive and complete small business timekeeping system. The mobile app released from the company carries several usable features, from the ability to track everything (including time and project information), to invoicing functions that mimic the powerful software. It is important to note that Bill4Time is not totally independent of the software. To fully use all the features, purchase of the software is required. Some functions of the app could still be useful, recording time is not included as one of the free features.

 

Tracking legal hours effectively

 

When tracking legal billing hours, the use of a simple system would be effective

Cleo Time Tracker or PracticePanther’s are extremely user-friendly, designed to simplify user interaction with the app. The efforts have paid off. The app has received rave reviews and high-marks from participants who note the easy-to-understand interface. In addition to being created as user-friendly, the app is also optimized for touch screen devices. One user noted that the ability to switch from matter to matter is easy on Time Tracker. Additional accounting features of this legal billing software include:

 

  • Easy editing of entries
  • Quick correction of errors on entry
  • Visualization and report tools to track time
  • Export data in CSV format
  • Easy to incorporate into traditional billing systems

 

The last app to help track legal billing hours is OfficeTime, it is a humble entrant, also the favorite app used by Florida State University law practice and affiliates. A top law firm billing software app, Office Time contains all the necessary components any efficient practicing attorney would want. The ability to track billable time, plus expenses. This app was reviewed and received high ratings by PCMag.

 

5 Oct

6 Legal Billing Tips for Personal Injury Lawyers

LEGAL-BILLING-SOFTWARE-8

Are you a Personal Injury Attorney? Six Legal Billing Tips for Your Firm

 

It does not matter whether you own a large personal injury law firm or a small paralegal law firm; when operating your personal injury law firm you may not give accounting the attention it deserves. Keep in mind that staying compliant is important for both the success and survival of your law business. According to the New York City Law Department, most lawyers are often susceptible to compliance issues, especially with legal accounting. This is because:

• Lawyers are not accountants.

• Accountants are not personal injury attorneys, and they cannot understand the different elements associated with legal accounting and their differences with other generic businesses.

Legal accounting is more involved and complex than understanding loans, money in, and money out. For you to operate a successful and compliant law firm you should understand the particulars of escrow accounting, direct and indirect matter costs, trust fund accounting, and three-way reconciliation. Having all this in mind be mindful of these six tips. Failing to be mindful of them can seal the fate of your firm. In most cases, instead of cancellation the penalty is usually disbarment.

Maintain only audit ready trust accounts

Law firms often use retainers to secure payment from clients. Your personal injury law firm also handles clients’ settlements, and most of the time your firm will have several clients with different trust ledgers. It’s important that such trust funds aren’t used to pay the law firms expenses or commingled with other accounts. Ensure that you reconcile all accounts in a monthly basis. In case of an audit this is the first place an auditor will start.

Avoid double data entry

Most law firms have separate management and business accounting systems. However, the problem is that sometimes data requires being entered in both systems. A problem can easily arise when a firm accepts credit card because the money trail will easily get lost. It means that if you put all your business and management accounting in one system, you will only have to enter data once hence minimizing costly errors and saving time.

Consider the firm’s expenses

When your firm focus on client billing it’s easy to forget your expenses. Some of the expenses include payroll, office lease, the internet, phone, and much more. When you have a good understanding of some of the overhead costs of running your law firm you’ll have more information on how many clients you should bill. You should also be able to differentiate between the direct and indirect costs. Reimbursement for your indirect costs needs different accounting than direct costs.

Allocate revenue receipts in an orderly manner

When some of your invoices aren’t paid in full ensure that your law firm allocates the revenue receipts correctly. Before your firm applies these funds to income, ensure you first pay for costs and liabilities. This can be easy if you are using legal billing software.

Track income by practice area

Although you specialize in personal injury cases, you may have different practice areas, for instance, truck accident, dog bite, or slip and fall personal injury practice areas. Furthermore, you bill clients differently because each case is unique. When you track income by the type of case or practice, you will be able to determine the practice area that generates more income. This will help maximize profits for your business by being able to make data driven decisions.

Rather than using general purpose accounting software, employ the use of legal billing software

For your law firm to remain compliant, you have to stop using general purpose law firm billing software. To become successful while using this software, you will require a high level of customization which can cost you both money and time. The complete law firm billing software would be easier to use compared to using spreadsheets, word processors, or manual checkbooks.

Lawyers have varying needs that have to be met for them to meet their ethical and professional responsibilities to clients. Ensure that you consider these needs when selecting your law firm billing software.

5 Oct

6 Legal Billing Tips for Personal Injury Lawyers

LEGAL-BILLING-SOFTWARE-8

Are you a Personal Injury Attorney? Six Legal Billing Tips for Your Firm

 

It does not matter whether you own a large personal injury law firm or a small paralegal law firm; when operating your personal injury law firm you may not give accounting the attention it deserves. Keep in mind that staying compliant is important for both the success and survival of your law business. According to the New York City Law Department, most lawyers are often susceptible to compliance issues, especially with legal accounting. This is because:

• Lawyers are not accountants.

• Accountants are not personal injury attorneys, and they cannot understand the different elements associated with legal accounting and their differences with other generic businesses.

Legal accounting is more involved and complex than understanding loans, money in, and money out. For you to operate a successful and compliant law firm you should understand the particulars of escrow accounting, direct and indirect matter costs, trust fund accounting, and three-way reconciliation. Having all this in mind be mindful of these six tips. Failing to be mindful of them can seal the fate of your firm. In most cases, instead of cancellation the penalty is usually disbarment.

Maintain only audit ready trust accounts

Law firms often use retainers to secure payment from clients. Your personal injury law firm also handles clients’ settlements, and most of the time your firm will have several clients with different trust ledgers. It’s important that such trust funds aren’t used to pay the law firms expenses or commingled with other accounts. Ensure that you reconcile all accounts in a monthly basis. In case of an audit this is the first place an auditor will start.

Avoid double data entry

Most law firms have separate management and business accounting systems. However, the problem is that sometimes data requires being entered in both systems. A problem can easily arise when a firm accepts credit card because the money trail will easily get lost. It means that if you put all your business and management accounting in one system, you will only have to enter data once hence minimizing costly errors and saving time.

Consider the firm’s expenses

When your firm focus on client billing it’s easy to forget your expenses. Some of the expenses include payroll, office lease, the internet, phone, and much more. When you have a good understanding of some of the overhead costs of running your law firm you’ll have more information on how many clients you should bill. You should also be able to differentiate between the direct and indirect costs. Reimbursement for your indirect costs needs different accounting than direct costs.

Allocate revenue receipts in an orderly manner

When some of your invoices aren’t paid in full ensure that your law firm allocates the revenue receipts correctly. Before your firm applies these funds to income, ensure you first pay for costs and liabilities. This can be easy if you are using legal billing software.

Track income by practice area

Although you specialize in personal injury cases, you may have different practice areas, for instance, truck accident, dog bite, or slip and fall personal injury practice areas. Furthermore, you bill clients differently because each case is unique. When you track income by the type of case or practice, you will be able to determine the practice area that generates more income. This will help maximize profits for your business by being able to make data driven decisions.

Rather than using general purpose accounting software, employ the use of legal billing software

For your law firm to remain compliant, you have to stop using general purpose law firm billing software. To become successful while using this software, you will require a high level of customization which can cost you both money and time. The complete law firm billing software would be easier to use compared to using spreadsheets, word processors, or manual checkbooks.

Lawyers have varying needs that have to be met for them to meet their ethical and professional responsibilities to clients. Ensure that you consider these needs when selecting your law firm billing software.